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My normal CPU load average is less than 1.0. However, once in a while for some unknown reasons, the CPU load average shoots up to 23.21, even though the connections and processes running are the same as the normal condition. I am unable to root cause the reason for high CPU load average. Here's the top output. `

top - 14:05:03 up 2 days,  3:04,  1 user,  load average: 23.21, 22.71, 21.98
Tasks: 244 total,   3 running, 241 sleeping,   0 stopped,   0 zombie
Cpu0  : 17.6%us, 77.5%sy,  2.9%ni,  0.0%id,  0.0%wa,  0.0%hi,  2.0%si,  0.0%st
Cpu1  : 21.6%us, 75.5%sy,  0.0%ni,  0.0%id,  0.0%wa,  0.0%hi,  2.9%si,  0.0%st
Cpu2  : 16.7%us, 80.4%sy,  0.0%ni,  0.0%id,  0.0%wa,  0.0%hi,  2.9%si,  0.0%st
Cpu3  : 17.6%us, 79.4%sy,  0.0%ni,  0.0%id,  0.0%wa,  0.0%hi,  2.9%si,  0.0%st
Cpu4  : 17.6%us, 79.4%sy,  0.0%ni,  0.0%id,  0.0%wa,  0.0%hi,  2.9%si,  0.0%st
Cpu5  : 27.5%us, 70.6%sy,  0.0%ni,  0.0%id,  0.0%wa,  0.0%hi,  2.0%si,  0.0%st
Cpu6  : 17.6%us, 79.4%sy,  0.0%ni,  0.0%id,  0.0%wa,  0.0%hi,  2.9%si,  0.0%st
Cpu7  : 17.0%us, 81.0%sy,  0.0%ni,  0.0%id,  0.0%wa,  0.0%hi,  2.0%si,  0.0%st
Mem:  12301916k total, 11569724k used,   732192k free,   585756k buffers
Swap:  1052248k total,        8k used,  1052240k free,  8482092k cached

  PID USER      PR  NI  VIRT  RES  SHR S %CPU %MEM    TIME+  COMMAND                                                                    
 5635 apache    16   0  197m  20m  14m S  8.8  0.2   0:01.39 php-cgi                                                                    
 4160 dieselst  16   0  202m  25m  17m S  6.9  0.2   0:03.16 php-cgi

    `

This load average will not go down, no matter what. This server serves the apache with php and mysql. So if I shutdown apache server and mysql server, the load still stays the same. How can I find out who's the culprit?

Thanks, Ketan

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1) Is this a vm, and 2) how is your storage attached? –  mattdm May 9 '12 at 18:12
    
Since all the load occurs in sys, can you provide the output of dmesg? –  Matthew Ife May 9 '12 at 19:42
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1 Answer

Here try this

Displaying number of processors in the system

lsdev -Cc processor

Displaying the top 10 CPU-consuming processes

ps aux | head -1 ; ps aux | sort -rn +3 | head

Displaying the top 10 memory-consuming processes using SZ

ps -ealf | head -1 ; ps -ealf | sort -rn +9 | head

Displaying the processes in order of being penalized

ps -eakl | head -1 ; ps -eakl | sort -rn +5

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